Being the parent of a child with ADHD is often very hard at times. It is important to remember that with help, most children with ADHD will succeed. As a parent, you will often need to be the manager of the team that helps your child succeed.
How to start
- Stop blaming yourself. ADHD is not caused by poor parenting, but a child’s home environment can affect whether the ADHD behaviors get better.
- Learn about ADHD. There is a large amount of information available about the diagnosis of ADHD and its treatment. Books, tip sheets and websites can help guide you in learning useful information. We have listed some resources at the bottom of this section.
- Make sure your child gets a proper evaluation. ADHD is best treated when you know your child’s strengths and weaknesses. A full evaluation helps you understand these strengths and weaknesses and provides you with treatment options. Please ask your health care provider about professionals who conduct thorough evaluations. The diagnosis of ADHD is usually made by a pediatrician, psychologist, neurologist, or psychiatrist. Assessments should include:
- Medical history
- History of growth and development
- Review of strengths and weaknesses in school
- Review of child’s social and emotional functioning (i.e. peer relationships or expressing feelings)
- Family history of medical, developmental and psychiatric problems
- Information from both parents and teachers (including behavior rating scales)
Behavioral family therapy/behavior management
Learning new skills and strategies to manage misbehavior will help you to focus on certain behaviors and provide consistent directions. Behavior management will also help your child learn from his mistakes. Professionals who specialize in behavior management/behavioral family therapy include psychologists and licensed social workers.
Joining a support group will help provide additional information as well as support to families. Visit the Children and Adult with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) website to find support group chapters in your area.
Boosting your child’s confidence
- Praise your child. Remind your child that you love and support him no matter what the difficulties may be. Setting aside “special time” with your child also helps him to know you care.
- Assist your child with social skills. If your child is having problems getting along with other children, remind him how to cooperate with and respect others. It is important to provide opportunities for your child to have positive interactions with other children.
- Identify your child’s strengths. Many children with ADHD are used to hearing about their weaknesses. It is important for you to show them their strengths so that they will have a feeling of pride and success.
Recommended readings and resources
- Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete Authoritative Guide for Parents written by Russell Barkley
- Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood written by Hallowell and Ratey
- Making the System Work for Your Child with ADHD: An Expert Parent’s Guide to Getting the Best Care written by Peter Jensen
- Problem Solver Guide for Students with ADHD: Ready-to-Use Interventions for Elementary and Secondary Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder written by H.C. Parker
- National Resource Center on AD/HD Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder website: www.help4adhd.org